Album Review – Ryth / Deceptor Creator (2022)

Raise your horns to this four-piece Death Metal act from Bahrain, bringing to our ears their unique and brutal blend of extreme music in their debut album.

Formed in 2008 in Bahrain (a country not known for its metal scene for many reasons), the four-piece Death Metal act that goes by the name of Ryth is unleashing upon us their debut full-length album, entitled Deceptor Creator, offering our ears 44 minutes of what can be described as Blackened Death Metal with a technical and progressive edge. Mixed by Hani Taqi at Studio 77, mastered by legendary mastering engineer Alan Douches at West West Side Music, and displaying a Stygian artwork designed by Lucas Ruggieri, Deceptor Creator beautifully represents all the hard work and passion by vocalist and bassist Mohammed AlMeshkhas, guitarists Abdulrahman Rashed and Hisham AlAnsari, and drummer Mahmood AlAnsari, who despite all the struggles faced by any metal band in the Middle East never gave up their dream and were finally able to release their debut effort, forging their unique and brutal blend of extreme music.

The atmospheric, cryptic intro Firmament sets the stage for Ryth to crush our souls in Auto-Autonomous, with the guitars by Abdulrahman and Hisham exhaling hatred and animosity while Mohammed roars manically form the bottom of his devilish heart. Put differently, it’s in-your-face Death Metal the likes of Unleashed, flowing into Self Destruct, which begins in a somber manner to the minimalist riffage by the band’s guitar duo and the rhythmic beats by Mahmood while Mohammed continues to vociferate the song’s lyrics in great fashion. White Portrait is even more detailed and progressive than its predecessors, with Mahmood sounding fantastic behind his drums in a lecture in modern-day Progressive Death Metal; whereas Spiral Flood is more direct and infernal, with the riffage by Abdulrahman and Hisham cutting your skin deep while Mahmood keeps hammering his drums nonstop.

The second part of the album begins with the futuristic, eerie interlude Spectre, showcasing an obscure background voice and growing in intensity until exploding into Facade, another puissant, heavy-as-hell tune that brings to our ears more of the gruesome vociferations by Mohammed. Moreover, although the band’s trademark brutality is present, the song loses a bit of its punch after a while. Then sinister and atmospheric from the very first second, the multi-layered The Rise of Erebus will embrace you in pitch black darkness to the venomous growls by Mohammed and the puissant drums by Mahmood; and lastly, Explicit Name is another solid hybrid of classic Death Metal with more modern and progressive nuances, with their guitars walking hand in hand with both their wicked growls and anguished clean vocals.

In summary, if you’re a fan of bands such as Gojira, Dark Fortress, Shining and Opeth you must take a listen at Deceptor Creator, as the album will bring to your avid ears a massive dose of heaviness, groove and progressiveness altogether. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for all things Ryth, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, to stream their creations on Spotify, and above all that, to purchase Deceptor Creator by clicking HERE. It’s always a pleasure seeing metalheads from the Middle East going against all odds and delivering first-class metal even with all the hassles and prohibitions imposed by their authoritarian governments, and the band simply nailed it with Deceptor Creator, proving once again the Middle East could be an excellent source of metal music if only there was a little bit more freedom for talented musicians like the guys from Ryth.

Best moments of the album: Self Destruct, White Portrait and The Rise of Erebus.

Worst moments of the album: Facade.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Firmament 0:35
2. Auto-Autonomous 5:23
3. Self Destruct 5:20
4. White Portrait 6:41
5. Spiral Flood 5:48
6. Spectre 1:51
7. Facade 8:31
8. The Rise of Erebus 5:15
9. Explicit Name 4:51

Band members
Mohammed AlMeshkhas – vocals, bass
Abdulrahman Rashed – guitars
Hisham AlAnsari – guitars
Mahmood AlAnsari – drums

Album Review – Hiss From The Moat / The Way Out Of Hell (2022)

There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by one of the best bands of the current Italian scene.

Following their 2019 acclaimed sophomore record The Harrier, Italian Black/Death Metal beats Hiss From The Moat are back in action with their impending, monstrous third full-length opus, entitled The Way Out Of Hell, an extension of their signature, menacing sound while it carves out a unique place in the blackened underground as they search for the light amidst the darkness. Produced by the band’s own bassist Carlo Cremascoli at The Obscure Country Recording Studio, The Way Out Of Hell is the representation of how vocalist and guitarist Max Cirelli,  guitarist Jack Poli, bassist Carlo Cremascoli and drummer James Payne feel that life is, a very difficult thing to go through with a lot of pain and challenges to deal with. “This album is our way to express the feelings about how life is a hard, complicated and confusing way out of hell, there are many things, emotions and people that get in your way, but that’s what life is: getting out of it going through as less suffering as possible,” commented James about their amazing new album.

Arising from the dark pits of the underworld the band comes ripping with the infuriated title-track The Way Out Of Hell, where James sounds utterly infernal on drums while Max roars manically nonstop in a great display of Blackened Death Metal, and the caustic guitars by Max and Jack will penetrate deep inside your skin in I Am Deceived, continuing their path of destruction tailored for lovers of the music by bands such as Behemoth and Septicflesh. More savagery and darkness are offered to us all in Staring At The Abyss, with Carlo and James making the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums, therefore providing Max with all he needs to vociferate like a demonic creature; and get ready for another onrush of Black and Death Metal by those Italian metallers entitled Generation Of Cowardice, sounding brutal and visceral from start to finish with the band’s guitar duo being on absolute fire with their devilish riffage.

Let’s keep raising our horns in the name of evil with The Killing Of Innocence, very progressive and groovy with Carlo sounding amazing with his bass jabs accompanied by the always massive beats by James, whereas a melodic and heavy start morphs into an ode to death and obscurity titled Bury Me, perfect for breaking our necks headbanging while Max rabidly growls the song’s acid lyrics. There’s absolutely no sign of the band slowing down; quite the contrary, their onrush of metallic sounds will hammer our heads mercilessly in All I Have, with James once again stealing the spotlight with his demented drums, followed by A Gallows Of Mirrors, a no shenanigans, Stygian creation by the quartet that exhales Blackened Death Metal for our total delight, showcasing a fantastic guitar work as usual. Lastly, there’s still time for The Magnificent Vision, one final explosion of Extreme Metal by the band where Max leads his horde with his hellish roaring and riffage while Jack and Carlo join him with their stringed weapons in a fulminating onrush of darkened sounds.

Such precious gem of the extreme music scene can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but as I like to say if you want to show your utmost support to the underground you should definitely purchase a copy of The Way Out Of Hell from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Distortion Music Group’s webstore as a CD or as a special bundle including a CD, a shirt and a poster, or simply click HERE for all locations here you can find the album available. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more darkness in the form of music. In a nutshell, Hiss From The Moat have seriously stepped up their game with their new album, proving that if there’s a way out of hell, that needs to happen to the sound of first-class underground Blackened Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Way Out Of Hell, Generation Of Cowardice, The Killing Of Innocence and A Gallows Of Mirrors.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Distortion Music Group

Track listing
1. The Way Out Of Hell 4:10
2. I Am Deceived 4:44
3. Staring At The Abyss 4:17
4. Generation Of Cowardice 4:22
5. The Killing Of Innocence 4:27
6. Bury Me 4:37
7. All I Have 3:46
8. A Gallows Of Mirrors 4:48
9. The Magnificent Vision 4:17

Band members
Max Cirelli – vocals, guitar
Jack Poli – guitar
Carlo Cremascoli – bass
James Payne – drums

Album Review – Behemoth / Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)

A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.

Opvs Contra Natvram, or “a work against nature”. That’s the name of the brand new album by Polish Blackened Death Metal institution Behemoth, their twelfth studio album and a beastly follow-up to their 2018 album I Loved You At Your Darkest. Mixed by Joe Barresi, mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, and displaying a stylish and blasphemous artwork by Anton Pavsyuk, Opvs Contra Natvram showcases a band that’s on absolute and eternal fire, taking us back to the austere sonority of their sensational 2014 effort The Satanist and, therefore, proving vocalist and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski, guitarist Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber, bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski and drummer Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński still have a lot of fuel to burn in the name of evil while at the same time always fighting against any type of religious oppression.

Otherworldly sounds accompanied by the tribal percussion by guest Einar Selvik are the main ingredients in the fantastic intro Post-God Nirvana, darkening the skies to the wicked vociferations by Nergal and setting the tone for the demolishing Malaria Vvlgata, showcasing devilish lyrics (“Let all bibles preach the sermon ov vengeance / Let the hallowed verses call for war / Behold as seraphs fall from ebonising skies / Let’s stab the world and halt the cosmic lie / Spare no one / Show them no pity / Tooth for a tooth / Eye for an eye”) amidst less than three minutes of pure Black and Death Metal savagery. The Deathless Sun, one of the first singles of the album, sounds very atmospheric while Orion and Seth generate a dense, menacing base with their inhumane kitchen, followed by Ov My Herculean Exile, another one of the band’s blasphemous, imposing tunes, with Nergal roaring deeply while Seth extracts darkness from his axe. And there’s no time to breathe as blasphemy keeps permeating the air in Neo-Spartacvs, with Nergal and Seth being in an infernal guitar sync supported by the thunderous bass by Orion.

The second half of the album begins in full force with Disinheritance, and Behemoth’s demolishing Blackened Death Metal burns majestically, again presenting visceral, hammering drums by Inferno for our total delight; whereas Off to War! is simply perfect for their live performances, or in other words, it’s a brutal, flawless Black and Death Metal attack displaying stunning lyrics declaimed by Nergal (“Am I ov god, Satan or an obsidian hemisphere? / Am I the fated sovereign or sanctitude inverse? / Consider the great solitude ov the truly liberated man / Set forth to raze frail humanity once again”). Less violent and a lot more melodic and rhythmic, Once upon a Pale Horse is a decent composition albeit not as thrilling as the rest of the album, while guest vocalist Zofia Fraś joins Nergal and his horde in Thy Becoming Eternal, a straightforward, classic Behemoth tune showcasing an excellent guitar work by Seth with Inferno crushing his drums like a demonic beast. Lastly, it’s time to darken the skies and surrender to the Blackened Death Metal by Behemoth in the obscure, somber Versvs Christvs, alternating between sheer heaviness and more atmospheric moments, therefore ending the album on a beyond Stygian note.

Behemoth Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset

After all is said and done, it’s more than clear that Behemoth keep standing tall in their Blackened Death Metal castle with the release of Opvs Contra Natvram, which is by the way available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, with their importance and influence in the world of extreme music growing exponentially with each one of their albums. Hence, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked videos (such as their brilliant live performance playing four songs form the new album atop the Palace of Culture in Poland), to stream all of their sulfurous creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Opvs Contra Natvram by clicking HERE, where you can also find the lavish Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset, limited to 1,000 copies and including a 180g yolk crystal/gold LP in a gatefold, a CD digibook, a 100x100x flag, a vinyl slipmat, and a cut out patch and pin, or simply click HERE for all things Behemoth. More than just an album of extreme music, Opvs Contra Natvram is a work against all types of religion, and may Behemoth keep on fighting against the darkness of the church until their very last breath.

Best moments of the album: Malaria Vvlgata, Disinheritance, Off to War! and Thy Becoming Eternal.

Worst moments of the album: Once upon a Pale Horse.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Post-God Nirvana 3:10
2. Malaria Vvlgata 2:18
3. The Deathless Sun 4:43
4. Ov My Herculean Exile 4:43
5. Neo-Spartacvs 4:18
6. Disinheritance 4:22
7. Off to War! 4:47
8. Once upon a Pale Horse 4:16
9. Thy Becoming Eternal 4:09
10. Versvs Christvs 6:29

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

Guest musicians
Zofia Fraś – vocals on “Thy Becoming Eternal” and “Versvs Christvs”
Einar Selvik – tribal percussion on “Post-God Nirvana”
Michał Łapaj – piano on “Versvs Christvs”
Jan Stokłosa – orchestral arrangements
Piotr Wróbel – tuba
Wawrzyniec Dramowicz – percussion, timpani

Album Review – Nafrat / Veins EP (2022)

This Singaporean horde returns after a hiatus with a new EP, exploring darker atmospheric soundscapes coupled with their familiar blistering style of Blackened Death Metal.

Mixed and Mastered by Zoteng at Masterplan Studio and displaying an obscure artwork by the band’s own bassist Firdaus Kadir, Veins is the brand new three-track EP by Singapore-based Dissonant/Technical Death Metal horde Nafrat, following up on their 2018 full-length opus Abnegation after the band went on a hiatus due to personal reasons. Formed in 2003 and currently comprised of Han Shah on vocals and guitars, Iskandar Zul also on the guitars, the aforementioned Firdaus Kadir on bass and Islam Falmi on drums, Nafrat venture through new territories in their new EP with the exploration of darker atmospheric soundscapes coupled with the familiar blistering style of Blackened Death Metal that they produced in previous releases, turning such short and sweet record into a must-listen for fans of bands the likes of Hate Eternal, Immolation and Svart Crown.

Sinister sounds permeate the air in the Stygian instrumental intro Veins, dragging our souls to the obscure realms ruled by Nafrat before the quartet begins hammering our heads with In Absentia, a brutal, malignant Death Metal onrush spearheaded by the venomous beats by Islam while Firdaus extracts rumbling tones form his bass, all of course spiced up by the visceral guttural by Han in a solid, straight-to-the-point display of the band’s core sonority. Then more of their primeval, tribalistic music comes in the form of Oculus, with the guitars by Han and Iskandar decimating our ears while Islam sounds like a demented beast on drums, feeling absolutely bestial from start to finish with Han roaring deeply just the way we like it in Death Metal. Put differently, this might be a very good sign of what to expect from Nafrat in their upcoming releases.

You only need 12 minutes of your time to let Nafrat crush your cranial skull with their music by either streaming the EP in full on Spotify or by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album, among other cool links). In addition, let’s show our support to underground metal made in Singapore by giving the guys from Nafrat a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing them how much we appreciate their devilish music. Veins might be short in duration but the quality of the music found in it is outstanding, which leaves me wondering what those Singaporean metallers will bring to our avid ears next, especially if they release a full-length album, always in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Oculus.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Veins 2:02
2. In Absentia 4:31
3. Oculus 4:59

Band members
Han Shah – vocals, guitars
Iskandar Zul – guitars
Firdaus Kadir – bass
Islam Falmi – drums

Album Review – Konvent / Call Down the Sun (2022)

Denmark’s own Doom Metal institution returns with a masterful sophomore offering, doubling down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound.

Two years after taking the entire Doom and Heavy Metal scene by storm with the release of their boisterous debut full-length album Puritan Masochism, Copenhagen, Denmark’s own Death/Doom Metal institution Konvent returns with a sophomore offering entitled Call Down the Sun that doubles down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound. Recorded and mixed by Lasse Ballade at Ballade Studios, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Studio, displaying a Stygian artwork by Mads Berg, and undoubtedly inspired by recent dark times, the ongoing pandemic and cancellation of live performances, the new album’s thunderous apocalyptic sound is impossible to escape, with the four-piece entity formed of Rikke Emilie List on vocals, Sara Helena Nørregaard on the guitars, Heidi Withington Brink on bass, and Julie Simonsen on drums unleashing hurricanes of Blackened Death and Doom Metal upon us all, sounding even more pissed-off, fast-paced and pitch-black than ever.

The cryptic words barked by Rikke (“Climb into the distance / Aiming for the price / Seeking a device / Climb into the distance / High”) are the main ingredient in the sluggish and atmospheric Into the Distance, darkening the skies to the slow and steady beats by the talented Julie, whereas Sara and Heidi hammer their stringed weapons mercilessly in Sand is King, sounding utterly perfect for breaking your neck headbanging in the name of doom, not to mention Rikke’s roars get even more demonic and obscure. Julie continues to deliver her trademark tribal beats in In the Soot, another solid fusion of Death and Doom Metal where Sara’s Black Sabbath-inspired riffs will penetrate deep inside your lost soul; and Stygian clouds keep blocking all sunlight in Grains, with Heidi providing those low-tuned bass lines we darkly love so much while Sara keeps slashing her axe in great fashion for our total delight.

And the reverberating bass by Heidi kicks off the superb Fatamorgana, with its somber, poetic lyrics being powerfully vociferated by Rikke (“Time to venture out again through the sand to Neverend / Every step is poorly cast / Leave them in the past / Forever, the orb is a guide / Endeavour from morning till night”) while the music flows flawlessly in a lecture in contemporary Doom Metal, all spiced up by its cult-like backing vocals, morphing into a massive, sinister instrumental Interlude for the also venomous Never Rest, bringing forward the quartet’s undisputed heaviness spearheaded by another brutal work done by Julie on drums, with Rikke once again haunting us all with her inhumane, deep gutturals. Then adding hints of Stoner and Sludge Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for the thunderous Pipe Dreams, where the synchronicity between Sara and Heidi is superb form start to finish as usual. Lastly, we’re treated to Harena, perhaps the band’s deepest and most detailed composition of all time. The melodic but extremely sharp riffs by Sara are a thing of beauty, supported as always by the demolishing kitchen by Heidi and Julie while Rikke roars from the bottom of her blackened heart, resulting in a stunning, dense and climatic ending to the album.

Such delicious masterpiece of Death and Doom Metal can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase your favorite copy of the album by clicking HERE, adding an amazing touch of darkness to your private collection. Also, don’t forget to follow the girls from Konvent on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with news, their plans for the future and their tour dates, and I’m more than sure that watching Konvent playing live might be a fantastic experience. Who knows, maybe one days they’ll tour across Canada? Anyway, having said all that, let’s all call down the sun to the undisputed doom played by those four Danish metallers, and enjoy their beyond sweet companionship in darkness for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Sand is King, Fatamorgana and Harena.

Worst moments of the album: In the Soot.

Released in 2022 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Into the Distance 5:23
2. Sand is King 4:12
3. In the Soot 4:52
4. Grains 6:05
5. Fatamorgana 5:54
6. Interlude 2:00
7. Never Rest 5:39
8. Pipe Dreams 4:05
9. Harena 7:13

Band members
Rikke Emilie List – vocals
Sara Helena Nørregaard – guitars
Heidi Withington Brink – bass
Julie Simonsen – drums

Concert Review – Arch Enemy & Behemoth (Rebel, Toronto, ON, 04/25/2022)

A night of rain, insanity, blasphemy and, above all that, first-class Heavy Metal for the delight of thousands of metalheads in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Unto Others and Napalm Death

Despite the heavy rain that decided to hit Toronto only a couple of hours before the fantastic tour named The North American Siege 2022 took the city by storm, the venue chosen for such metal attack, the spacious Rebel, was almost packed already when the first band of the night hit the stage exactly at 6:30pm, American Heavy Metal/Gothic Rock act UNTO OTHERS, and let me tell you I feel a little ashamed for not knowing those guys before last night. Promoting their 2021 opus Strength, vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Franco and his henchmen put on a sensational show, with songs such as Give Me to the Night, Summer Lightning and When Will God’s Work Be Done inspiring all fans to dance, slam into the pit, or simply raise their horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. It was a short and sweet performance by such talented band, and I hope to see them again in Toronto (or anywhere else in the world) in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
Subdivisions (Rush song)
Heroin
Give Me to the Night
No Children Laughing Now
Can You Hear the Rain
Nightfall
Summer Lightning
When Will God’s Work Be Done

Band members
Gabriel Franco – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Sebastian Silva – guitars
Brandon Hill – bass
Colin Vranizan – drums

Right after a bathroom/beer break (not necessarily in this order), it was time for the iconic Barney Greenway and his Grindcore/Death Metal institution NAPALM DEATH to show Toronto what noise is all about for the delight of admirers of the heaviest and most demented side of music who attended the concert. Having released earlier this year the album Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes, the band was on absolute fire from start to finish, with Shane Embury and John Cooke hammering their respective bass and guitar mercilessly throughout their entire set. Amidst a hurricane of infernal tunes the likes of Fuck the Factoid, Contagion, Scum and the one-second masterpiece You Suffer, Barney had time to distill his opinion about controversial topics such as illegal immigration, being always of course on the side of the less fortunate. Closing their boisterous setlist, the band smashed our faces with their rendition of Dead Kennedys’ all-time classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off, sending a message of love and peace, and warning us it won’t take long for those four British noisemakers to return to our beloved city.

Setlist
Unchallenged Hate
Fuck the Factoid
Backlash Just Because
Hung
Contagion
Continuing War on Stupidity
Everyday Pox
Invigorating Clutch
Suffer the Children
Breed to Breathe
Scum
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
You Suffer
Smash a Single Digit
Deceiver
Dead
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)

Band members
Mark “Barney” Greenway – vocals
John Cooke – guitars
Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals, noises, effects
Danny Herrera – drums

ARCH ENEMY

Precisely at 8:35pm Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal army ARCH ENEMY (although we can say the band is now 60% Swedish, 20% American and 20% Canadian) hit the stage and delivered exactly what the crowd wanted, which was a fusion of some of their best classics with the new songs Deceiver, Deceiver, House of Mirrors and Handshake With Hell, from their upcoming album Deceivers (to be released in July), spearheaded by the unstoppable Alissa White-Gluz and, of course, by one of the best guitarists of the Scandinavian metal scene, Mr. Michael Amott. It was clear in their faces how much they missed playing in front of an audience during the pandemic, in special Alissa who always gets very emotional when playing for her Canadian “family”, which translated into sheer adrenaline for our vulgar delectation. As a longtime fan of the band I was obviously more inspired to bang my head to songs such as Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead and Nemesis, but I must say their entire performance was awesome. How long will we have to wait to see Alissa and the boys again in Toronto? Massive circle pits like the ones we witnessed yesterday are not created out of silence, you know. We need Arch Enemy!

Setlist
Set Flame to the Night
Deceiver, Deceiver
The World Is Yours
Ravenous
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
House of Mirrors
The Eagle Flies Alone
As the Pages Burn
Handshake With Hell
Dead Bury Their Dead
Nemesis
Fields of Desolation (Outro)
Enter the Machine

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

BEHEMOTH

And at 10:05pm the gates of hell opened once again and the almighty Blackened Death Metal horde BEHEMOTH emerged from the underworld with another flawless and very theatrical performance, darkening the skies of Toronto and putting a huge, devilish smile on the faces of everyone at Rebel (at least on the faces of the ones not wearing masks). Kicking off their demonic concert with one of my favorite Behemoth songs of all time, the incendiary Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, the multi-talented Nergal, Seth, Orion and Inferno did not disappoint their fans, sounding utterly heavy, dark and blasphemous until the very last second. Their brand new song, entitled Ov My Herculean Exile, from their upcoming (and still untitled) new album, sounded amazing live, but of course there’s nothing like raising our horns in the name of evil to masterpieces such as Ov Fire and the Void, Christians to the Lions, Chant for Eschaton 2000, and the hymn to Satan himself, O Father O Satan O Sun!, proving why Behemoth are one of the best and most obscure bands of the current metal scene. And when the night was over and those Polish blasphemers left the stage, it was time for us Torontonians to keep some of that darkness inside our hearts, face the cold and rainy weather outside again, and return to our lairs waiting for the next time Behemoth come back to crush the infidels in Toronto with their undisputed music.

Setlist
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Wolves ov Siberia
Ov Fire and the Void
Evoe
Christians to the Lions
Bartzabel
Conquer All
Ov My Herculean Exile
Decade of Therion
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

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Album Review – Persecutory / Summoning the Lawless Legions (2022)

An album of sheer darkness masterfully brought into being by a Black and Death Metal horde hailing from Turkey in honor of the seven deadly sins.

Forged in 2014 in the scorching fires of Kadıköy, an older settlement than most of those on the Anatolian side of the city of İstanbul, Turkey, the demonic Black/Death Metal horde known as Persecutory will darken your minds and souls with their sophomore full-length opus, entitled Summoning the Lawless Legions, the Stygian follow-up to their 2016 EP Perversion Feeds Our Force and their 2017 album Towards the Ultimate Extinction. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Can Gelgeç at Studio Sirri, and displaying a devilish artwork by Alex Shadrin of Nether Temple Design, Summoning the Lawless Legions is an album of sheer darkness masterfully brought into being by Tyrannic Profanator on vocals, Infectious Torment and Vulgargoat on the guitars, Deathbed on bass, and Kyle on drums, living up to the legacy of the most obscure and infernal form of extreme music.

The piercing riffs by the band’s guitar duo will penetrate deep inside your psyche in As The Serpents Ascend while Tyrannic Profanator vociferates the song’s wicked words like a creature form the underworld (“Beneath the blackened seas which elder ones take breath / Their primal strength summons, the lords of Shammash / Resided in the fixed stars, infernal serpent’s pride / Burnt embers of the fire, splendor of the unholy light”), therefore offering our ears a modern but at the same time primeval form of Black Metal; and Kyle shows no mercy for his drums in Thou Abyssic Fire In Rebellion, a vicious, hammering aria by the quartet where the gnarling by Tyrannic Profanator gets even more satanic and visceral. Put differently, it’s old school Black Metal with a Turkish Death Metal twist, and the music remains acid and vile until the very last second with Infectious Torment and Vulgargoat embellishing the airwaves with their dark and very melodic guitar riffs and solos.

Another explosion of brutality, obscurity and rage comes in the form of Adorned In Primeval Seas, where the blast beast by Kyle are accompanied by the massive, thunderous bass lines by Deathbed, generating an imposing wall of sounds perfect for Tyrannic Profanator to growl like a beast. Then Deathbed makes the earth tremble with his beastly bass in Circle Of The Spirit Devourers, a darker tune with hints of Doom Metal added to its core sonority with the wicked roars by Tyrannic Profanator walking hand in hand with the inhumane beats by Kyle, whereas lastly we face more of the demented lyrics growled with tons of anger by Tyrannic Profanator (“Forlorn mistress of the circle embraced spheric daughters / Forlorn queens of suffering screamed at their presence / Forlorn servants are chained below the seas of cavities / Forlorn goddess of grief dances on seven storeyed mountains”) in The Blazing Spheres, while the music remains as hellish, heavy and disturbing as possible until the very last second.

Summoning the Lawless Legions, which is available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube, is indeed a lecture in contemporary Blackened Death Metal by Persecutory while remaining loyal to the foundations of the genre, proving those Turkish metallers are not only extremely talented, but also true servants of the darkest side of music. Hence, in order to show them your support and to join them in their quest for extreme music, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and purchase a copy of their newborn beast from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore as a CD, a blue cassette or a red cassette. Let’s all toast in honor of Summoning the Lawless Legions and of the seven deadly sins, and rest assured that while Persecutory are among us the fires of evil will keep burning our damned souls to the sound of their infernal music.

Best moments of the album: Thou Abyssic Fire In Rebellion and Adorned In Primeval Seas.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. As The Serpents Ascend 7:15
2. Thou Abyssic Fire In Rebellion 7:27
3. Adorned In Primeval Seas 7:06
4. Circle Of The Spirit Devourers 8:23
5. The Blazing Spheres 7:40

Band members
Tyrannic Profanator – vocals
Infectious Torment – guitars
Vulgargoat – guitars, backing vocals
Deathbed – bass
Kyle – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lauren Hart

Scar weaver, sew the flesh on my fears…

It’s time to turn up the heat and beat the bitterly cold winds of winter in the Northern Hemisphere here at The Headbanging Moose with one of the most electrifying women from the current metal scene worldwide. Owner of a beyond powerful, dynamic and versatile voice, she will crush you like an insect not only with her deep roars and stunning clean vocals, but also with her high-octane onstage performance. I’m talking about the multi-talented Lauren Hart, the unstoppable frontwoman for Los Angeles, California-based Groove Metal powerhouse Once Human, setting fire to this month of March and keeping the flames of heavy music burning bright wherever she goes for the total delight of us metalheads.

Born on April 8, 1986 in Anaheim, California, but raised in Australia, Lauren self taught piano as a toddler and guitar by the age of 14, proving she was more than ready for stardom at a very early stage in her life. It was in 2014 when she was discovered by former Senior Vice President of A&R for Roadrunner Records and record producer Monte Conner, who put her in touch with Canadian-American record producer and guitarist Logan Mader for a production deal; after the two met, they decided to start a whole new band and started to work on Once Human. That being said, there’s no Lauren Hart without Once Human and vice-versa, which means we’ll focus on the history of the band for a while before talking about some other specific details about our metal diva.

As aforementioned, Once Human was formed in 2014 in Los Angeles, California by Lauren and Logan, with the band’s current lineup being comprised of guitarist Max Karon, bassist Damien Rainaud and drummer Dillon Trollope. In a few of her interviews, Logan explained how Once Human came together. “It all kind of started as soon as I met Logan. I was sent to him because of my video I made, a guitar playing video which was actually pretty shit. I don’t know how I ended up in the hands of these big people but I sat down in the studio with I think was my $99 guitar and my crappy amp and I just started playing these metal riffs and recorded it and put it up on Youtube and Facebook and next thing I know, I’m getting to go into Logan Mader’s studio because I guess Monty Connor (A&R) saw it and he said, ‘Why don’t you try and build something around this girl, let’s have her in and see what happens’. So I came in and straight away we really hit it off and started writing together and I guess he’s normally used to people coming in and wanting to do radio music and a lot more commercial things and I didn’t want any part of that. In fact I didn’t want to do any career singing, I just wanted to do the metal riffs that I love so much and so I think he was taken aback by that because he spent so much time doing the radio stuff and yet he comes from heavy metal, that’s his soul. So when he was able to write heavy metal again with me, I feel like something awoke in him and we just started writing and never stopped,” said Lauren, who also mentioned the original name for the band was going to be Once We Were Human just because of the way the world is going nowadays, because the fall of humanity and the uprising of social media.

Mixing aggression with vulnerability and downright gut-wrenching growls with ethereal clean vocals, Once Human have already released three studio albums, all of course with Lauren on vocals, those being their 2015 debut The Life I Remember (where she also played piano and additional guitars), their 2017 sophomore opus Evolution, and more recently Scar Weaver, not to mention their 2018 live album Stage of Evolution and their 2022 EP Erasure. Furthermore, Once Human also appeared in the compilations Maximum Metal Vol. 210 (released in 2015 by Metal Hammer) and Le Sampler RockHard 159 (released by RockHard in 2015), both with the song The Life I Remember, and in the compilation Le Sampler RockHard 172 (released by RockHard in 2017) with the song Gravity. If you want to have a very good taste of the power, groove and electricity flowing from the music by Once Human, as well as the mesmerizing visuals of their official videos, you can enjoy on YouTube the songs Eye Of Chaos, Erasure, Cold Arrival, Deadlock, Sledgehammer, Only In Death, Gravity, Dark Matter, a live version for Flock Of Flesh, and tons of non-official videos of their live performances all around the world, as well as stream all of their furious creations on Spotify. On a side note, there’s one song and video, for the title-track Scar Weaver, that means a lot to Lauren. “The Scar Weaver track is about dealing with my anxiety and catastrophic thoughts. I give a bad thought (which is ONLY in my head) a true reality by feeding it energy – thus, giving it life, to grow and completely engulf my mind. I sew the flesh on my fears,” she commented.

Apart from her career with Once Human, Lauren can also be seen doing additional vocals for American Progressive/Melodic Power Metal band Kamelot live since 2018, having also recorded additional vocals for the songs Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire), Mindfall Remedy and The Proud and the Broken, from their 2018 album The Shadow Theory, and participated in their 2020 live album I Am the Empire: Live from the 013 singing the song Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire) live with the band. Another band that had the pleasure of having Lauren doing some vocals together with them was International Blackened Death/Groove Metal act Sinsaenum, with whom she recorded the song Sacred Martyr, from their 2018 album Repulsion for Humanity.

Lauren also mentioned in some of her interviews how she ended up singing with Kamelot. “Well I was on tour with Kobra and the Lotus and Kobra Paige told me that Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot) had his eye on me for a while because, as you know he’s taken other girls on tour, like Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) and Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) as they always have a guest feature. He always has his eye out for someone he can take for the next record. Kobra came up to me after one show in somewhere like Arizona and says ‘Hey, do you want to go and play a show with Kamelot?, you’re going to be opening up for Iron Maiden and Ghost’… I was like ‘uhm yes’!” Moreover, the experience with Kamelot also had a huge impact on her singing style. “Well, in the very beginning of Once Human, I didn’t want to clean-sing. I was scared. I said, ‘Screaming only.’ And Logan made me sing – I guess he heard something in me and knew I could do it — but on the first two albums, you can hear me singing, but it’s quite reluctant. I think it sounds held back and unsure. But on this album, on Scar Weaver, it’s full force. And that is definitely 100% because of Kamelot. You gotta come out of your shell with that band. You’re filling some big shoes – you’re filling Alissa White-Gluz, you’re filling Elize Ryd, you’re filling the shoes of these big amazing singer. So I couldn’t be shy about my vocals anymore. So doing it every night onstage, singing songs like “Liar Liar’ and ‘Sacrimony,’ you will come out of your shell. You’re thrown in the deep end. I became really familiar with my clean-singing voice, and my own style.”

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Still regarding her vocal technique and style, Lauren said that apart from the growth from the years with Kamelot and her daily singing she tries to stay fit, to be really connected with her voice and to know her limits, learning how to breathe and speak to an audience without a microphone, and learning how to project in a healthy way and becoming aware of diaphragm support. In addition, she also mentioned her work with vocal coach Melissa Cross, and with laryngologist Dr. Michael Johns to make sure everything stays healthy. “The style that I do, false chord screaming, is a lot of air, all the time. You have to be in really good shape to pull it off. So for me, I feel like being really fit and staying in the gym and making sure your cardio is up to par – I think that helps me onstage. I also did a lot of voice work – not singing, but voice, which is like breathing work, in a theater school. That’s what I incorporate into my screaming and my singing, to not do any damage and keep my breath down in my diaphragm,” she said, also mentioning a not-so-fun experience she had in her teens. “So when I was a teenager listening to metal, I had an ex-boyfriend who was in a band and I would always go to his rehearsals and after they were done rehearsing, I would always come in and they’d free jam and I’d scream on the microphone and I remember always tasting blood in my throat afterwards. Back then there was no YouTube, no internet really to look up whether or not that was okay so I thought ‘I’m doing it right because I taste blood’! Obviously, though there was something very wrong there.”

Lauren has several idols in her career and in her personal life, of course, including huge names the likes of Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), Joe Duplantier (Gojira) and Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), also mentioning Black Metal in general as one of her influences when writing and composing music. When asked about her favourite European bands, she said “well my favorite metal album when I was a kid was Dimmu Borgir’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. I learned to drive to that album and I don’t recommend learning to drive to that album because you’ll get a lot of speeding tickets! But them and Opeth and I love Strapping Young Lad, loved Devin Townsend and Meshuggah. My first ever album that got me into metal was Yngwie Malmsteen’s Trilogy and that was sort of the gateway as I wanted to be a guitar player and that was, ‘Wow listen to this guy!’ I listened to that record over and over again and quickly it went from that to Dimmu Borgir, I don’t know how it happened but that’s how it went.”

Having already toured with renowned acts such as Dragonforce, Cradle Of Filth, Kobra And The Lotus, and Fear Factory, our beloved vocalist said that she still dreams of touring with other bands, of course, including Devin Townsend, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, and Meshuggah, and of playing in Wacken Open Air with her band Once Human, complementing by saying she really enjoys to be on the road and that she would love visiting South America. In one of her interviews, Lauren talked about the beauty of screaming in small venues, where she can make eye to eye contact with the crowd and closely feel the reaction from her fans. Also, when questioned if the female-fronted label in metal should continue or cease to exist, she said that “I can see how that separation can cause that, I see the conflict but I also see a lot of my fans, I’ve gotten to know a lot of my fans on Patreon – a lot of them are huge fans of female-fronted metal, they’ll go to every show, they’ll buy all the merch and it’s a genre they are just in love with, I don’t know, there are good points and bad,” mentioning she would love to work with other prominent women in metal such as Angela Gossow, Alissa White-Gluz, and Noora Louhimo of Battle Beast.

Lauren was also asked in an interview if she has ever considered returning to acting, but she said that because of the competitiveness of it she doesn’t believe it’s something that she would pursue in her career despite having studied method acting for a number of years. “But you know what, method acting is all about not acting at all, but being honest, 100% honest with yourself. So it is very therapeutic, and I do believe it;’s helped me with my stage presence. Being comfortable in my own skin, being honest. Because people can feel that – they can feel when someone’s being fake. The audience can connect when you’re being true. So it’s definitely helped me be okay with being myself.” And if you want to know more curious facts about Lauren, her career, how she manages to sing and scream with so much passion and energy, there are several interviews on YouTube that I’m sure you’ll enjoy such as one called Screaming when SICK?! What happens…, one interview where she talks about how she learned screaming, another one where she talks about how she found her voice and plays a game called ‘How Well Do You Know Your Bandmate’, and a very relaxed one where she reads mean and not-so-mean YouTube comments about herself and her band. As you can see, Lauren Hart is everywhere, and if you consider yourself a true metalhead it’s time to know more about one of the driving forces of the current metal scene in the United States and bang your head nonstop to her undisputed vocals.

Lauren Hart’s Official Facebook page
Lauren Hart’s Official Instagram
Once Human’s Official Facebook page
Once Human’s Official Instagram

“I force myself to go places that I don’t normally want to go. I force myself to look at things that I’d typically want to not see.” – Lauren Hart

Album Review – Klendathu / Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once EP (2022)

A Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal entity returns with a new concept EP of one massive 25-minute music journey inspired by the ever-present environmental threat on our planet.

After two years since the release of Ad Nauseam, Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal entity Klendathu is back in action with a new EP, entitled Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once, the culmination of a year of hard work to not only improve on Ad Nauseam but to also create something of substance that the band’s mastermind Scott Masson and other people can be proud of. A concept record of just one song, this 25-minute Dark Metal journey will keep the listener’s attention from start to finish, allowing your mind to create a story inside your head. Featuring Ross Savage on drums, who by the way also produced the album, Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once is inspired by renowned acts the likes of Behemoth, Machine Head, Gojira and Kataklysm, among others, as well as by the ever-present environmental threat on our planet and the suffering of all the poor animals that we enslave, use and discard without mercy every single day.

Like the soundtrack to a sinister thriller, eerie sounds arise amidst chaos until Scott begins hammering his bass accompanied by one of his trademark anguished roars and the blasting drums by Ross, blending elements from Groove and Industrial Metal into his core sonority. The song’s “second act” showcases a heavier-than-hell riffage by Scott while he keeps screaming manically, not to mention Ross’ beats will put you to headbang like a beast, whereas near the eight-minute mark it’s time for some dark vocalizations by Scott spiced up by his piercing guitar lines, and as the song approaches its twelfth minute it’s time for Scott to put the pedal to the metal and invite us all to crush our heads into the circle pit to the sound of his demented growls and Ross’ infernal drums in a fulminating Death Metal assault with hints of Hardcore for our vulgar delectation. We’re 17 minutes in and the music is only getting more apocalyptical and thunderous, not to mention how impressive it is that Scott’s energy level doesn’t go down not even for a single second. And our one-man metal army keeps roaring and roaring in the most demented way, with his riffs piercing through our minds and souls until the song’s obscure and terrorizing finale.

You can join Scott and his Klendathu in such distinguished, heavy and visceral musical voyage by streaming Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course by purchasing a copy of the 25-minute EP from Apple Music or from Amazon. When you think of Black and Death Metal, the first thing that comes to your mind is violence, blood and death, but with Klendathu the multi-talented Scott wants to show us all that although death is necessary and a crucial part of our lives it doesn’t have to be part of our eating habits, blending the importance of veganism and vegetarianism into his visceral music. That’s what Klendathu is all about, and that’s how it will always be thanks to the fantastic job done by our unrelenting Australian metaller.

Best moments of the album: The whole song is amazing, but its last part will pulverize your senses mercilessly.

Worst moments of the album: None, of course.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once 25:49

Band members
Scott Masson – vocals, guitars, bass

Guest musician
Ross Savage – drums (session)

Album Review – Nihility / Beyond Human Concepts (2022)

Exploring the definition of nihilism as a philosophy and a way of life, this ruthless Portuguese horde will darken your mind with the Blackened Death Metal found in their sophomore opus.

Forged in the fires of Paços de Ferreira, a city in the Porto District in the north of Portugal, in 2012, Nihility are a four-piece Blackened Death Metal band heavily influenced by the roots of Death and Black Metal, exploring the definition of nihilism as a philosophy and a way of life, passing through the many different ways of nihilism, how it’s understood and adjusts to everyday life and society as a whole. Following their 2019 debut opus Thus Spoke The Antichrist, the band comprised of Mário Ferreira on vocals, Renato Barbosa on the guitars, Miguel Seewald on bass and Luís Moreira on drums has just released their sophomore effort, entitled Beyond Human Concepts, a top-notch album that hopefully will catapult these Portuguese youngsters into the forefront of the European Death Metal scene. Produced, mixed and mastered by Pedro Mendes at Ultrasound Studios Braga, and displaying a Stygian artwork by Credo Quia Absurdum, Beyond Human Concepts is an album of sheer brutality that will please fans of bands the likes of Behemoth, Vader, Morbid Angel, Decapitated and Vomitory, among others, representing an infernal step forward in the band’s career.

Renato ignites the band’s devilish machine with his riffage in the opening tune Martydom for the Herd, being gradually accompanied by Miguel’s bass and Luís’ drums in an infernal display of Black and Death Metal. And Mário continues to vociferate like a demonic entity in Hubris, with Luís crushing his drums in great fashion. Put differently, it’s a fulminating fusion of Blackened Death Metal with D-Beat Crust elements, whereas Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice is even more devastating than its predecessors, with Renato being on fire with his wicked riffs supported by the kitchen from hell by Miguel and Luís, not to mention how evil Mário sounds once again on vocals. Then after such high level of destruction get ready for two and a half minutes of insanity in the form of extreme music in Human Stupidity, a song that’s absolutely perfect for slamming into the pit while Mário vomits the song’s putrid words.

Conflicting Vanities is ideal for banging your head like a true metal maniac thanks to the visceral beats by Luís in another brutal display of Blackened Death Metal by the quartet that lives up to the legacy of the genre, and there’s no time to breathe as those Portuguese metallers keep delivering sheer dementia and obscurity in Will to Power, with Luís stealing the spotlight with his venomous drums. The Religious Dogma is another demented explosion of Blackened Death Metal made in Portugal where Mário roars and barks rabidly, accompanied by the slashing and rumbling sounds blasted by the band’s stringed duo, whereas the title-track Beyond Human Concepts brings to our avid ears an extreme music extravaganza where all band members showcase their dexterity and passion for heavy music, keeping the album blazing brightly. And last but not least, it’s time for Sea of Thoughts, a sinister outro that puts a proper end to the album (albeit not as vile as the other songs).

You can enjoy such devilish album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow Nihility on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and above all that, grab your copy of Beyond Human Concepts from the band’s own BandCamp page, and from the Vicious Instinct Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album). In other words, go numb and let your mind go black, let your soul be engulfed and captured by the void, then let this be the vessel for all your pent-up aggression and rage, for this is Nihility and this is the void.

Best moments of the album: Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice, Human Stupidity and The Religious Dogma.

Worst moments of the album: Sea of Thoughts.

Released in 2022 Vicious Instinct Records

Track listing
1. Martydom for the Herd 3:28
2. Hubris 3:04
3. Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice 3:25
4. Human Stupidity 2:28
5. Conflicting Vanities 4:16
6. Will to Power 2:40
7. The Religious Dogma 3:21
8. Beyond Human Concepts 4:33
9. Sea of Thoughts 2:10

Band members
Mário Ferreira – vocals
Renato Barbosa – guitars, backing vocals
Miguel Seewald – bass
Luís Moreira – drums